Farmer entitled to compensation after land flooded
A farmer has successfully claimed compensation after a local council pumped floodwater onto his land to save a Yorkshire village from flooding. The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (‘tribunal’) decided that the farmer was entitled to recover compensation from the council for the losses suffered as a result of the consequent flood damage to his carrot crop.
The council denied liability and argued that the Fire Service and the Environment Agency had carried out the pumping. The tribunal had to consider whether a family farming company was entitled to receive compensation from the council (which was acting as a lead local flood authority) under sections 14 and 14A of the Land Drainage Act 1991. The tribunal also had to consider the council’s and the Environment Agency’s flood risk management functions and their statutory powers and duties under various relevant statutes. The tribunal found that the Council was acting within its statutory powers and was only being assisted by the Environment Agency. It was therefore the Council that was liable to the farmer.
The losses suffered by the farmer were relatively small but the decision sets a precedent that will be welcomed by other farmers in a similar position following the recent heavy rainfall and flooding. The decision also sets out some guidance as to when compensation will be payable.
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